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Post Info TOPIC: Lesson #6: Kicking Arguments

Lesson #6: Kicking Arguments

Read the following article and explain/analyze how you will apply this strategy to the Africa resolution.

Kicking Arguments

This may come as a surprise to many novice debaters, but as a team you dont have to go for every argument you make in the debate.  And this may come as a surprise to many advanced debaters, but a significant number of experienced debaters have no idea how to correctly kick an argument (which just means getting rid of an argument so that you no longer have to debate it).  Eliminating arguments out of the debate early is a useful way to avoid talking about arguments that may become irrelevant (based on a poor strategy), dangerous (meaning they may become a liability), or messy (unnecessarily sloppy and complicated).  Thus, kicking arguments helps condense bate into more manageable arguments, allows debaters to eliminate arguments they might lose anyway, permits debaters to spend more time on other more important arguments, and eliminate arguments that have lost their importance in the debate.  In this way, kicking arguments can make sound strategic sense and make the debate easier for you and your critic.  Because of these reasons, you should probably be kicking arguments in every debate.


The first step toward kicking arguments is deciding what to get rid of.  In this light, debaters should practice seeing the debate as a whole, or learning to look at debates as a collection of macro arguments (like disadvantages and Counterplans) and micro arguments (such as the counter plan text, solvency, and advantage).  Think about what you are most likely to win in the debate based on the other teams responses, and then adapt by kicking what is unnecessary or irrelevant.  Also, think about time tradeoffs, or about how much time kicking a certain argument could save you.  Most important, identify whether the other teams internal and external offense arguments.  By internal offensive arguments, we mean arguments run on an individual position that actually turn it (through the links, internal links, or impacts).  Internal turns actually relate to your argument, and attempt to turn it.  External turns, rather, usually have nothing to do with your argument, but are simply placed there (like placing an add-on advantage at the bottom of a disadvantage in an attempt to hide it) to generate offense in the debate for other purposes.  It is important to look for both types of turns in the debate.


So what is the right way to kick an argument?  While there is no objective or normative standard for how to eliminate arguments, we recommend doing at least four things.  First, make it clear to the judge that you are not going for the argument.  Amazingly, some debaters are so fast, confusing, or unclear that judges dont know whether they went for an argument or now.  So when you decide to kick out of an argument, actually slow down and say so (like Im not going for this) at the beginning of the argument.  Second, isolate and extend your opponents defense arguments (which are those arguments that attempt to take out or mitigate the issue, rather than turn it).  The best three defensive arguments to extend are no link arguments, no internal link, and no impact arguments.  Third, isolate and answer the other teams internal and external offensive arguments on the issue.  These generally come in four flavors (link turns, impact turns, theory arguments, and critical arguments), and must be answered even if you decide to kick the argument (at a minimum, to explain why the defensive arguments that you made takeout their offensive arguments, at a maximum to read evidence and specifically answer their turns).  Finally, provide comparative impact analysis just to be safe.  That way, in case you lose those turns, you can still win the debate,


Andrew S.


In general, kicking an argument is almost a necessity, and even on the Novice teams you will find yourself doing it subliminally. Kicking an argument is as simple as writing down any and all arguments you have and had made up until that point, analyzing each to see if they are still important or you are able to win them, and throw out any weak or lost arguments. Strategically, this can mean winning and losing a debate, as a "weak" or "strong" argument is in the perception of the debater. It should be a mutual decision among partners to throw out an argument.

For this year's resolution, a plethora of diverse arguments will come to the surface. Keep in mind that when kicking arguments, many will vary depending on the Affirmative Plan and the arguments that rise from it. Farfetched arguments, topics that do not pertain to the plan, and arguments supported with immediate evidence should be avoided. After the 2AC, draft the argument list and pull out any arguments you are sure you have lost, or once again arguments that lead nowhere. There is nothing worse than arguing your way down a "dead end."

N!C0L3 L@C3RD@


Kicking arguments is something you do in a debate, even if you don't notice it. During the debate you pick and choose which arguments you wish to carry out through the debate. An effective way to kick an argument out of a debate is let it be known that you are not going to debate that argument right from the beginning. Also, it is important to kick arguments out that you know you're not going to win or that are irrelevant to the topic.

This year the Affirmative team was assigned to form a plan which is increasing the health services in Sub Saharan Africa. This means they could do a plethora of things such as, elimate or lower the number of HIV/AIDS cases, malaria cases, and the ebola virus. A plethora of arguments will show up during a debate such as the government doesn't have enough money to support Africa because of the war. This is an argument that can be kicked out because not having enough money is not an issue because there are a plethora of places to get money.



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One very effective way of kicking an argument (in my short experience) was to attack the source of the opposing team. No matter what the opposing team says you can always ask them what their source is and if they tell you than all you have to do is ask them specifically about the source who stared the info...etc. So you basically could kick their argument if they for example a mechanical engineer as a source to support their argument about Africa (exaggeration).

Moussa Hassoun
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